Star-Bulletin Primary Election Guide 2004



» Maui
» Big Island
» Kauai


[ MAUI ]

Tanaka, McKelvey
target Rep. Blundell

The incumbent could face voter backlash after a misdemeanor sexual assault charge

WAILUKU >> Two first-time candidates, Kameo Tanaka and Grechen McKelvey, are running in the Democratic primary, hoping to advance to unseat incumbent state Rep. Brian Blundell, who was charged with misdemeanor sexual assault.

Blundell (R, West Maui-Kihei), 62, is expected to face some voter backlash from the incident, in which he allegedly groped an undercover male police officer's crotch at Kapiolani Park at night on July 15.

But just how much the adverse publicity affects his re-election bid remains to be seen.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle has publicly supported Blundell running for another term, and he faces no opposition in the Republican primary.

McKelvey, 26, works as a travel agent and marketing director for her mother's online travel business, and Tanaka, 67, is a retired corrections officer and an older brother of former Maui Democratic Sen. Joe Tanaka.

Democrats Rick Perrie and Kyle T. Yamashita are competing for a chance to defeat incumbent state Rep. Kika Bukowski (R, Makawao-Kula-Pukalani).

First-time candidate Perrie, 47, is a family physician and a board member of the substance abuse treatment center Aloha House.

Yamashita, 45, a partner in two SuperStop stores on Maui, lost to Bukowski in 2002 by 1,343 votes.

First-time Republican candidates Robb Finberg and Elaine Y. Slavinsky are running in the primary and seeking to unseat state Democratic Sen. J. Kalani English (D, Upcountry-East Maui-Molokai-Lanai).

Slavinsky, 59, is a registered nurse, and Finberg is pastor of Grace Church.



Most primary
candidates unopposed

The Big Island will see only two contested legislative races in the primary election, although six of the island's seven House districts will have contests in the general election.

In House District 3, the south side of Hilo, Democrats Clifton Tsuji, a retired banker, and Glen Hisashima, acting warden of Kulani Correctional Facility, will square off in the primary. The winner faces governor's liaison Andy Smith, a Republican. Nonpartisan Frederick Fukuchi, a state Highways Division retiree, also will remain in the race if he gets at least 10 percent of the primary vote or at least matches the votes of one of the partisan candidates.

In District 4, lower Puna, incumbent Democrat Helene Hale is being challenged by noni farmer Gerard Silva in the primary.

The winner faces Republican Brian Jordan, a retired Marine, and Libertarian Dennis Triglia, a biologist.

Other general election races:

>> In District 5, Puna-Kau-South Kona, incumbent Democrat Robert Herkes faces Republican Stephanie Tabbada, a state Department of Human Services worker.

>> In District 6, Kailua-Kona, Republican incumbent Mark Jernigan faces Democrat Joshua Green, a doctor.

>> In District 7, North Kona and South Kohala, Democratic incumbent Cynthia Evans faces Republican J. William Sanborn, a mortgage banker.

>> In District 2, the north side of Hilo, Democratic incumbent Jerry Chang faces Republican Sharon Vannatta, a retired restaurant operator.

Two incumbents on the Hamakua Coast are unopposed, Dwight Takamine in House District 1 and Lorraine Inouye in Senate District 1. They are both Democrats.



Kusaka sets sights
on Sen. Hooser’s seat

Cummings against Morita could
be the House race to watch

LIHUE >> The GOP is keying on two of four legislative races on Kauai to help give Gov. Linda Lingle enough votes in the Legislature to be able to block any attempt to override her vetoes.

Since the last redistricting just before the 2002 elections, which eliminated "canoe districts," Kauai has had one Senate seat and three House seats.

The "main event" is expected to be Republican former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka's attempt to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Hooser.

When he served on the County Council, Hooser was among Kusaka's most frequent critics.

Both Kusaka and Hooser have free rides through the primaries.

The one to watch, however, might be the surprise, last-minute entrance of Republican Mamo Cummings as a challenger to veteran Democratic Rep. Mina Morita in a district that spreads from central Kapaa to the North Shore.

Morita has strong support from liberals in Hanalei and Kilauea.

But the district also includes Princeville, which has been Lingle country in the last two gubernatorial elections.

Cummings, who has been Kauai Chamber of Commerce president since 1999 and who is a member of one of the largest native Hawaiian families on Kauai, is a political newcomer but has no worries about name identification or financial support from the business community.

In the remaining two House seats, Rep. Bertha Kawakami is seeking a ninth term in the West Kauai seat previously held by her late husband, House Speaker Richard Kawakami.

She is unchallenged in the primary and will face a Republican challenger, vacation counselor JoAnne Georgi, in the general.

Rep. Ezra Kanoho is seeking an 11th term.

He faces opposition from real estate salesman John Friedman in the primary and contractor John Hoff in the general.

State Office of Elections



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